Family

Family

Ex-etiquette: You're not in this alone

I'm divorced and my son lives a week with his mother and a week with me. He is in the 6th grade. He recently got in trouble at school for using a racial slur and insulted one of his best friends. Evidently, he saw a comedy routine on YouTube and thought to repeat it. I talked to the principal and his friend's mother and now he's grounded and without a phone. I'm trying to be a good parent. What's good ex-etiquette?

Family

Ask Mr. Dad: Playing the role

Dear Mr. Dad. My husband and I have two-year-old twins – a girl and a boy – and we both love spending time with them. But I've noticed that he and I have very different styles, in several ways. We do different activities with the kids. And I've also noticed that I do a better job of treating the kids the same, while he treats our son very differently than our daughter. What's the best way to play with a toddler? And isn't it better to play with the two kids in exactly the same way?

Family

Chris Erskine: Easter with exploding eggs, rogue Russians

When the kids were really young, we used to have the best Easters. I'd dress up like Jesus and they'd dress like little Roman soldiers and chase me around the yard. Insert your own symbolism if you like, but I caution you not to jump to conclusions. Many families have their special traditions.

Family

Teach kids how to resist advertising and be smart consumers

Commercials are nothing new. We all grew up with them and can probably sing a dozen or more jingles. What is new is how advertisers have adapted to digital media – especially apps, websites, and social media. Many of today's ads – from product placements in movies and on TV to online contests, viral videos, and "chatbots" (robots that send instant messages) – don't look like ads. And that's by design. Adapting to ever more jaded and fickle viewers, marketers have developed ways to integrate ads into entertainment, so it's hard to tell where the "real" content ends and the ads begin. These techniques also encourage us to interact (click, swipe, play, chat), which gives marketers data about our habits, likes, and preferences.

Family

App review: Bethesda Pinball, inventive spin based on popular games is fun and addictive

Parents need to know that Bethesda Pinball is a trio of video game pinball machines that are inspired by the games "Doom," "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim," and the ones in the "Fallout" series. While there's some dark imagery, there are no acts of violence, nor is there any inappropriate content. Each table is sold separately, and as a group, but players can also download the app for free and pick one table to play when connected to the internet. They can then use in-game currency to play rounds on the other two tables, with that currency either won by beating other players' scores, or by purchasing currency with real-world money. Players can also buy temporary boosts that will give them even more currency when they win. Read the app's privacy policy in the "Legal Resources" section of the game's "Options" menu or on the game's website to find out about the information collected and shared.

Family

Game review: 'Crawl,' slick, 5-star game is madcap monster fun

Parents need to know that "Crawl" is a downloadable competitive local multiplayer brawler. Up to four players or bots fight one another as they progress through randomly generated dungeons. Despite appearances, under the hood this game is actually essentially like playground tag. One player takes turns as the human hero who is eventually killed by one of the three other players, who are ghosts possessing traps or spawning monsters in each environment to kill and then replace the hero. Violence is constant, but the pixelated graphics limits the impact on players.

Family

Suicide, cyberbullying, and more conversations to have with teens about '13 Reasons Why'

The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," based on the best-selling 2007 book, is the story of a teen girl who commits suicide, leaving behind a series of tapes that hold the story of her motives. Teens who watch this excellent but extremely dark and dramatic series may find themselves identifying with the characters, including the smart, troubled Hannah Baker. In this story, where not many adults are role models, the kids are left to process Hannah's suicide on their own.

Family

Skyler: When it's time for parents and kids to part ways

Recently I did something I haven't done in a very long time: I went on a hike alone. There was a time – about three years ago or so – when I was always accompanied by my two kids, Malcolm and Lux. Possibly they were forced to go, and probably at least one of them complained, but they went with me because I told them they had to.

Videos

Merced Montessori program taking applications

The Merced City School District is now accepting applications for the only public Montessori program in Merced County, Merced City School District officials said Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
Sara Sandrik Merced City School District
Merced Montessori program taking applications 1:01

Merced Montessori program taking applications

Atwater museum adds Russian fighter jet 1:26

Atwater museum adds Russian fighter jet

Fatal crash near Dos Palos 1:41

Fatal crash near Dos Palos

Truck ends up on its side in Merced crash 0:17

Truck ends up on its side in Merced crash